“Past & Presents” is a collaborative photo project where I explore gifts that have been given to me in the past by people whom I have lied to, victimize, emotionally abused and exploited due to my mental illness. I don’t know how to articulate that I am sorry with every inch of my being, but I do know how to use a camera, so for right now art will be my voice. SF
The Present: Given to me in 2014 by a couple, one person who has known me forever, the other not as long. The gift itself is three beautiful Russian nesting dolls. What struck me about this gift is the expression on the third and smallest dolls face. It’s a look of despair that I can relate to.
The Lies: I have lied to these people and I have lied about these people. I have told them I was straight, that I was happy, that I had friends and that I enjoyed my life. I have told people that they were incompetent, unkind, unloving, cruel and unprofessional. I have made them seem unreasonable and uncaring so that my friends would be pushed away from them. I made sure distance was created so each compartmentalized pockets of lies wouldn’t interfere with each other.
The Truth: These are two people who will be with me until the end. They are caring, loving and believe in my success in more ways that I can even imagine. These are the people who will drive to the ends of the earth to find me, who will hold me when I fall apart and who will guide me firmly but out of love to my new life. I was so wrong about them and I wasted so many years believing all the fabrication in my own brain when the truth, the real truth was simply that they would love me for who I am.
I need to find the courage to ask the givers of this gift for forgiveness, I have gotten close and I know I will build to that but more than anything I am afraid of the love they show. Knowing I have been such a monster to them and having them return my behavior with unconditional kindness is a debt I can never repay.
Special thanks to Woodland Pearl Photography and Lucid Lily Photography for assisting with this project.